Institute for Water Resources

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Planning Associates

Planning Associates Program: Growing as leaders, Serving with Integrity, Planning Solutions

Growing as leaders, Serving with Integrity,
Planning Solutions

2014 PRELIMINARY Course Schedule



Course Activity


20 Oct 13 - 09 Nov 13 PA Orientation, Team Building, Team Leadership and Effective Communications Washington DC/
Northern VA Area
05 Jan 13 - 11 Jan 13 Planning Foundations TBD
26 Jan 13 - 01 Feb 13 Deep Draft Navigation SAD Area
02 Feb 13 - 08 Feb 13 MVD/ERDC Tour Vicksburg, MS
23 Feb 13 - 15 Mar 14 DC Experience

Washington, DC
Metro Area

06 Apr 14 - 12 Apr 14 Watershed SWD Area
13 Apr 14 - 19 Apr 14 Flood Risk Management SPD Area
04 May 14 - 10 May 14 Inland Navigation Huntington, WV
01 Jun 14 - 07 Jun 14

ESA, Hydropower, Recreation, Water Supply

NWD Area
08 Jun 14 - 12 Jul 14 Cultural Resources/ Tribal Affairs NWD Area
08 Jul 14 - 12 Jul 14 Presentation Dry Run NAD Area
13 Jul 14 - 19 Jul 14 Coastal Storm Risk Management NAD Area
20 Jul 14 - 26 Jul 14 Ecosystem Restoration SWD Area
10 Aug 14 - 16 Aug 14 Small Boat Harbor/Intergovernmental Coordination POD Area
6 Sep 14 - 10 Sep 14 Project Presentations and Awards Ceremony Washington, DC
Metro Area

Note:  This is a very DRAFT and PRELIMINARY SCHEDULE, which is subject to change in date or location before and after the program starts.

PA Orientation and Team Building

This session provides an opportunity for the newly selected PAs and the PA management team including course owners to introduce themselves. The class Charter will begin development with a facilitated session to review the PAs needs and expectations, and, with the program management team, develop the final list of needs and expectations that will be addressed during the program. There will also be time to discuss the required readings for this session, and the PAs will be asked to complete several instruments in preparation for the PA Team Building Session. There will also be time for questions and answers.

Planning Foundations

The Planning Foundations course teaches the basic foundations of planning so that the class has a common, minimum basis of understanding of the various aspects of the planning process.

Cultural Resources and Tribal Affairs

This series of sessions will provide the students with a general understanding of the statutory and regulatory responsibilities as well as the structure of the Corps cultural resources management program, and Native American program. It will also provide students a well-rounded understanding, awareness and sensitivity to the unique status of American Indians and cultural resource laws, consultation requirements, government-to-government relations, and how to effectively implement the requirements within the Corps of Engineers.

Team Building, Leadership, and Communication

This session contains several modules to include:

a. Team building. Basic training on how teams work, and the fundamental skills needed to work effectively in a team-oriented environment. The training examines how to apply basic team processes and tools to foster commitment, increase trust, empower people, and create synergy for accomplishing organizational goals.

b. Leadership. This module focuses on critical competencies, including conflict management, influencing/negotiating, interpersonal skills, leveraging diversity, problem solving, vision, and creating a team identity, which fosters cooperation and commitment.

c. Facilitated Logistical Planning Session. Using the skills learned in the Team Building module, the class will complete the Class charter and develop work team norms and logos.

d. Communication: Presentations and Briefings. This training focuses on enhancing presentation and briefing skills. The goal of the training is to have the PAs master the skills to present information in a clear, concise manner that can be applied, when appropriate, at the work site.

Washington DC Experience

The Washington DC Experience provides an introduction to the Washington-level people and processes involved in the Corps' water resources programs. The course includes formal training, individual and panel discussions, shadowing activities, and field trips. The course begins with a full day bus tour of the Washington, DC area focusing on sites of historical and current significance to the Corps. Course training covers Who's Who in Washington, current issues in the Administration and Congress, and perspectives on the authorization and appropriations processes. Office visits are scheduled to meet with staff and senior leaders in the Corps' Headquarters, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), the Office of Management and Budget, the Congress (both House and Senate), and the Institute for Water Resources. Discussions are held with staff and senior representatives of the Corps' Headquarters, other Federal agencies, environmental and developmental interest groups, the national press, and lobbying interests. Each Planning Associate will shadow a senior Washington-level leader for a day.

Tour of Mississippi Valley Division (MVD) and U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC)

This 4-day visit provides an opportunity to understand the roles of the Mississippi Valley Division and ERDC and the many ways they support the Corps missions.

New Orleans Tour

This 1-day session allows the Planning Associates to tour the New Orleans levee area and talk with team members involved with ongoing projects in the area.

Business Program Training

Business program training is the heart of the PA Program. Identifying measures and formulating solutions to water resources challenges drive the Corps of Engineers planning process, and therefore training experiences in these skills are key areas of learning. Business program training consists of 8 courses; one located in each MSC. Each session will focus on specific Civil Works business programs.
Formal training will cover history, policy, measures, and formulation and evaluation analyses and procedures. Experiential training will involve assignments in technical analyses, formulation, evaluation, report writing, and include study and project site visits. Opportunities will also be provided to visit or discuss other business program activities in the host MSC.

The eight business program classes are:

  • Deep Draft Navigation (SAD)
  • Inland Navigation (LRD)
  • Coastal Storm Damage Reduction (NAD)
  • Flood Damage Reduction (SPD)
  • Ecosystem Restoration (MVD)
  • Endangered Species Act Hydropower, Recreation, and Water Supply (NWD)
  • Watershed (San Antonio, TX)
  • Small Boat Harbors and Inter-Governmental Coordination (POD).

Critical Thinking Practicum

This 3-day session allows the Planning Associates to present their Critical Think Pieces to management for comment prior to presenting during the awards ceremony.

Critical Think Piece Presentations/Awards Ceremonies

Completion and presentation of team products, program lessons learned and critique, out-brief senior leadership, and Awards Ceremony .